Clutch Warriors win had roots in heartbreaking loss

Posted June 11, 2017

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, center, celebrates with teammates after the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 Wednesday night in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland.

The 2017 NBA Finals on ABC - the Golden State Warriors lead the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-0 - is the most-watched NBA Finals since 1998 through three games, according to Nielsen.

The day before the Warriors face the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, with Kevin Durant so close to winning his first championship as Golden State holds a 3-0 series lead, ESPN's Zach Lowe published an interesting feature about Draymond Green. What James and Irving do is get buckets late with the game on the line and win Cleveland games. No team has ever gone undefeated in the playoffs and no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series in National Basketball Association history.

The Cavaliers might have beaten anybody else the way they played, just as they did in Game 3 of last year's Finals and as they did while rolling into the Finals with a 12-1 record.

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But Cleveland's LeBron James admitted his side would have to play a flawless game on Friday to avoid being on the wrong side of a new landmark.

"Even when you're playing well, you got to play A-plus-plus, because they're going to make runs and they're going to make shots and they got guys that's going to make plays". Without Green in the lineup, the Cavs took Game 5 on the road behind 82 combined points from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

"The example I would probably give you would be like Miami with Wade and LeBron", Kerr said to reporters on Tuesday. However, both played more than 44 minutes and, by the end, they were spent. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson also had 16 first-quarter points in Game 3. Cleveland beat Golden State in the finals a year ago. "I think it's just part of my calling to just go against teams in the midst of a dynasty", James said. "So we won't be exhausted because we got adrenaline on our side and we got to act like this is a do-or-die situation", Thompson said. We will find out if LeBron and Irving and the Cavs can rouse themselves and at least send the thing back to Oakland.

Irving took a step-back jumper from the right wing - the same spot he hit his notorious game victor in Game 7 a year ago - with 26.5 seconds left and the Cavs down by one.

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Cleveland needed everybody at the top of their game Wednesday night and for everything to go their way to win Game 3, and it did - for 44 minutes and 51 seconds.

"We want to finish it here and forget this game quickly and lock in and get ready for a battle on Friday".

LeBron is right. He is averaging a triple-double through the first two games of the Finals. He didn't even go in there when the game ended.

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